IT-infrastructure of university based on cloud computing
Zhyldyz B. Kalpeyeva
1, Akkyz K. Mustafina2
Kazakh National Technical University after K.I.Satpayev, Almaty, 050013, Kazakhstan
2 Department of information technologies, Kazakh National Technical University after K.I.Satpayev, Almaty, 050013,
The article is devoted to the organization of e-education environment of the university based on cloud computing. Cloud
services and one of its components – a virtual work place
introduce innovations in an education system. The introduction
and the use of cloud services at the university will significantly
reduce prices of campus machinery maintaining and servicing
and will allow to equate in full measure a distance education
with a full-time tuition due to a construction of interactive individual paths of training “in any place and at any time”,
providing high mobility of students.
Keywords: Cloud Computing, Virtual work place, E-education
Over the past few years, the concept of cloud computing
and virtualization has become popular in the field of
information technologies. Cloud computing has gradually
entered in all spheres of society, including an education
In a modern society training of students, especially in
technical educational institutions, is impossible without
using the modern Information Technology (IT) of
education. But, as a rule, the institutions have a limited
budget for updating Computer Park as often as these
rapidly changing computing possibilities of modern
computers require. It is not a cheap pleasure for
educational institutions to contain specialized computer
laboratories for various educational and scientific issues
1. The same picture is observed with the software when
universities can not master expenses to keep appropriate
informational service of students 2.
An application of the cloud computing could be an
economic exit for educational institutions in this situation.
Using of cloud computing concepts in educational process
will allow reducing costs for purchasing licensed software
and expensive computer park with bulk of memory and
disks, also the programs, which are used during the
lessons, and work results can be stored in a cloud 3. Cloud computing is a relatively new term in the world of
IT-industry, but nevertheless, has become very popular
within the past few years. According to Google Trends
statistics 4 the interest to the term “cloud computing”
has arisen since 2007 and steadily rises.
Several well-known providers of Cloud computing
announced services for educational institutions: Google
Apps, Microsoft [email protected], etc. These services can
replace or complement the university system functions,
such as electronic mail, scheduling plan, instant
messengers, creation and storage of personal documents,
providing general access to them 5. In spite of growing
interest to cloud computing in the academic community
the technology of cloud computing requires a multifaceted
study of subjects. The purpose of this research work is to
identify benefits and weaknesses of this technology
application in the educational institutions of Kazakhstan.
2. The advantages of cloud computing for
Many educational institutions have seriously started to
think about implementing and using of cloud computing
services in the electronic learning environment of the
In the works 5-10 are described how it is possible to use effectively cloud computing in students teaching and
training. We will generalize and consider some important
questions that technology of cloud computing can help to
solve in educational institution.
Deterioration of the IT equipment: First of all,
universities will reduce costs for the purchase and
maintenance of computer equipment. As a rule, the
computer equipment morally and physically quickly
becomes outdated, not fulfilling the requirements shown
by the modern software 11. Cloud computing technology
helps to solve the problems of equipment depreciation,
using the weak computers as "thin clients", the
information processing occurs on the server side.
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Reducing the cost of software:
An important argument for
the educational institutions in favor of using cloud
services, such as Google's «Apps for educational
institutions," or «[email protected]» is that the using of cloud
providers SaaS solutions is cheaper than providing the
necessary services itself 5. As a matter of fact, costs are
missing. There is no need in acquisition and servicing of
the corporate equipments and the software for granting of
the given services.
Possibility of the virtual classes, laboratories
organization: Technology of virtualization and cloud
computing allows organizing virtual classes and
laboratories, creating necessary quantity of virtual
machines (VM) by quantity of students. Virtual
laboratories allow students to work with the remote
version of the software without their preliminary
installation on stationary computers.
Outsourcing: Transfer of some functions of IT
Department of universities to the cloud provider. As a
rule, educational institutions willingly send e-mail of
students to outsourcing cloud providers. E-mail is a
service, which migration is relatively easy to realize,
because the technology is simple, standardized and
demands the minimum adjustment under needs of specific
educational institution. Such companies as Microsoft and
Google suggest to educational institutions to place free of
charge email accounts of students and employees on the
servers. Moreover, they can offer mail accounts with the
domain name coinciding with a domain name, used by the
educational institution. That is rather attractive to an
Data backup: As a rule, a sufficient number of methodical
materials is collected at university, for example video
lectures, multimedia training courses, audio, video files,
various student's projects that requires enough disk space.
Creation of the backups of teaching materials and
transferring them to the cloud solves problems with disk
files and also problems of preservations and data recovery
in cases of natural disasters 10 and physical
malfunctions of campus servers.
Load balancing of servers: Many cloud providers such as
Amazon allow to rent computing capacities as needed.
This service can be useful for educational institutions to
balance the load on their own server park. There are peak
loads of servers in learning process, especially during the
session and grading students.
Transition to a format «learning anywhere and anytime»:
Cloud computing allows students to have access to your
personal working environment in regime 24x7x365
irrespective of a territorial arrangement from any
accessible devices (PC, laptop, PDA, etc.) if they have
access to the Internet. Important advantage of cloud computing application
should be noted – the
decrease of costs on staff. The
number of institution IT staff decreases due to the transfer
of services into the cloud. There is no more necessity to
improve the knowledge of specialists in the narrow
specialized software and advanced training of IT staff.
3. Practice of cloud computing using in
This section describes the experience of implementation
and using some cloud services in Kazakh national
technical university after K.I.Satpayev (KazNTU).
Kazakh national technical university after K.I.Satpayev is
the leading technical university and leader of engineering
education in Kazakhstan. The university leads own
history since 1934. Today KazNTU – one of leading
universities of the country, among technical universities
occupies 1 place in a rating of Kazakhstan universities.
Being a leading technical university of the country
KazNTU actively used information technologies in
educational process and has a large computer park. At the
university operates a large number of basic and applied
applications and services the users of which are students,
employees of research subdivisions, the administrative
and managerial personnel. University dynamically
develops and, therefore, the needs in the IT sector
constantly grow. Among the important tasks for the
university – the consolidation of IT infrastructure,
increasing of its reliability and efficiency of resource
utilization, decreases in expenses for service of IT-actives. Quickly growing park of computers and a condition in
which they were exploited forced to think about reducing
of expenses for managing IT, improving of the work
reliability of used systems and reducing of reaction time
in the case of problems. The cloud computing
technologies and virtualization servers allowed achieving
Transition to innovative technologies of cloud computing
will allow to university to reduce costs to purchase of the
licensed software and expensive computer park with bulk
of memory and disks, as also the programs which are used
during the lessons and results of work can be stored in a
cloud. Also carrying over of educational services to
"cloud" will allow moving to a format «learning anywhere
Like many educational institutions for KazNTU the first
step in using of cloud computing was the transfer of
students’ e-mail support for outsourcing. E-mail – a basic, well standardized service, which can be easily supported
from the outside and certainly is not a key for an
educational institution. For the organization of corporate
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mail KazNTU used "cloud solutions" from Microsoft,
which gives free services of corporate e-mail for
educational institutions. This e-mail answers for all
technical requirements and gives ability to storing email
on Microsoft's remote servers in "cloud", instead of on a
local computers. It gives possibility to receive mail on
mobile devices, possibility of operative connection to
system from any place and at any time.
KazNTU is working on creation a private cloud of
educational resources. To date, the University has
implemented a number of electronic educational services
through the portal of the University: e-library, e-learning
Each participant of educational process has virtual
"private office" and anywhere and anytime has admission
to the materials and the data if there is access to the
Internet. All data are stored on the party of the server and
necessarily results stand out to users.
4. A virtual workplace
As the following stage of introduction of cloud decision
paradigm in KazNTU is planned realization of such
directions of cloud computing as, an infrastructure as
service (Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS), a workplace as
service (Workplace as a Service, WaaS). Works on
creation of user’s virtual workplace (VWP) are conducted,
access to which will be carried out both from university,
and from an environment, from any device (the home
computer, the laptop, netbook, the smart phone, etc.). The idea of a virtual workplace creation is development of
a convenient workplace for each student, containing those services and the software which are necessary for
performance educational tasks, and also providing disk
space for storage of documents created by student during
However, it was necessary to reconsider the existing
server equipment of university for implementation of the virtual workplace based on cloud computing technology.
KazNTU has begun reorganization of the IT
Infrastructure by implementing server platforms
virtualization. The computing infrastructure is
constructed on the basis of blade-servers IBM
BladeCenter HS22V, systems of storage IBM DS3512 and
EMC CLARiiON CX300. The network of data storage
systems (SAN – Storage Area Network) is constructed on
the basis of Fiber Channel switchboards with throughput
to 8 Gbit/sec. The following issue for university was to choose a
virtualization platform, comparing possibilities of various
virtualization platforms from such developers, as Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, Red Hat. We have stopped the
choice on product VMWare vSphere 5.
VMware vSphere is one of virtualization platforms for
creating of the cloud infrastructures, representing a
complex of services and applications. It provides stable
work of applications and possibility to react to various
events quickly 12. A number of services of an
infrastructure are responsible for high level of
applications and data availability, as well as high level of
safety. vSphere helps to accelerate carrying over existing
data centers to a computing cloud, allowing subsequently
to increase capacities without damage to high school
activity, and provides connection to compatible public
The virtualization technology allows to create virtual
servers with various software and to transfer them on a
uniform host-server. Thus there are some virtual servers, workstations, IT devices, etc. on a host-server. Virtual
servers can take places function separately and
independently from each other some, can be moved in a
few minutes from one hardware to another, unite in
virtual networks or function as uniform knot of processing
of the information. This solution has allowed to raise
reliability and autonomy of IT Systems, to provide a
continuity of business processes of university, to lower
power consumption, to raise efficiency of use of
computing resources. Thanks to virtualization technology
introduction in KazNTU about 25 % of a server
infrastructure is already liberated, on 40 % of power
consumption is lowered, floor spaces are released from
superfluous hardware maintenance, expenses on
acquisition of the hardware for new services are cut down.
Besides, server virtualization provides access to virtual
computers by means of the web interface. Hence, students
can be connected to them at home and work in addition.
Possibility of remote access creates conditions for distance
learning, interest to which increases every year.
In the given article authors have tried to describe aspects
of application of technology of cloud computing which
can be rather attractive and economically beneficial for
educational institutions. And also article purpose was to
describe the practical experience of using cloud
computing for creation of the electronic educational
environment of high school. We wanted to demonstrate
our own experience in implementing a number of services
based on cloud computing.
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003D PhD student, Kazakh National Technical
University after K.I. Satpayev. She has published more than 10 scientific works.
0024 PhD, Director of information technologies
Department of Kazakh National Technical University after K.I.
Satpayev. She has published more than 40 scientific works.
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